And so we find ourselves here again, back to being in “unprecedented times,” it’s that strange feeling that we get between Christmas and New Years where we lose sense of what day it is, except this time there are no left-overs to tide us through. It can be a stressful and anxious time for so many of us, waiting for the 1pm presser to hear anything of what is to come next, how many cases there are and any more significant locations of interest – it can all be a bit much. So I am here to offer a few easy tips to help us get out of our heads and anxious thoughts, and back into our bodies, to remind us of the here and now.
This is one of the easiest ways to help calm the mind when it is going a million miles an hour. The five senses exercise. List off something you can see, hear, taste, touch and smell. Keep going until your mind stops racing and you are connected with your environment. It may take a few goes, and you might need to pair it with a snack so you have something yummy to taste.
This is one of the most accessible tools we have in our toolbox, our breath, it is easy for it to get caught in our throats, and for us to breathe shallowly and feel as though we are not getting enough air. Being mindful of our breath can help support us in so many ways, it calms the nervous system, connects us to our bodies and gives us enough oxygen to keep going. Take a few big breaths throughout the day, inhale for 5, hold for 5 and exhale for 5, repeat as needed.
Try this mindfulness exercise:
- Take take 3 deep breaths
- Soften your gaze and loosen your jaw
- Drop your shoulders
- Take your left ear to your shoulder – hold for 5
- Take your right ear to your shoulder – hold for 5
- Bring your chin to your chest – hold for 5
- Stretch your head back gently – hold for 5
- Bring your head back to central
- Take 3 deep breaths
- Repeat as needed
Find more mindfulness and stress-reducing worksheets at the Indigo Project.
Water is a simple way to get us back into our body, at it’s easiest having a drink of cold water can help us to connect. Noticing the cold water on our lips, in our mouth and down our throats can help us connect to our body. Notice the sensation at each of these places to bring us into the present moment.
Wash your hands and face. Giving ourselves a moment of pause to get out of our heads and have a different sensation on our body can help us find a moment of stillness in the chaos of our minds.
A shower or a bath. Sometimes we need more than just a drink of water or to wash our hands, taking a shower or bath for relaxation can not only give us a much needed break from the stressors of our daily lives but warm water can provide a sensation similar to touch, take a long shower or bath, not for any other purpose than to relax and connect in with yourself.
Music & dance:
Listen to some chill music, one of my favourite brands Sans [ceuticals] (which you can find stocked at the Tonic Room) have a few very chill playlists that can help you surrender to some smooth and chill sounds. You can check them out here or put on your fave lo-fi beats to zone out to.
Find something to dance to, move your body, just one song can help you release some of the tension – here is my current fave song to get me back into my body, Woman by Doja Cat.
Get some support:
Talk to whānau, friends, your support people about how you are doing. Talking it out can sometimes help ease some of the anxietty. Our minds can be very powerful and we sometimes need to rationalise our thoughts with other people to understand them better. And get professional support when you need to, sometimes we need another person on our side to guide us through tricky times. You can reach out to the Tonic Room who have a range of incredible practitioners, supplements and other products to help reduce anxiety and I am always available for a chat if you feel as though you need a little extra help – you can find me at Atawhai Counselling.
Stay safe, and trust that we’ll get through this together – our team of 5 million.
Noho haumaru tatou,